Press Conferences

12. 3. 2008 9:46

Press Conference after the Negotiation of Representatives of Coalition Parties Held on Wednesday 12th March 2008

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: Good evening everybody. I will start. I was rather surprised at being constantly asked during the day what an important issue we were going to solve. I think that our governance desired certain revision and discussion on mechanisms of its performance. That was the main content of the discussion of our political leadership called C9 ("coalition nine") We agreed on the fact that the coalition project was good that all the three coalition parties would continue in that coalition project and we agreed we wanted to meet our commitments resulting from the coalition agreement and from the Programme declaration of the Government. What we identified during that one year and a half was positive and therefore we did not assess it; we rather solved problem which divided us or which might divide us in the future. The main debate at today's meeting of the "coalition nine" was the debate on procedures of solving these situations, whether they concerned enforcement of issues where all parties have the same interest or in case of partial or particular interests within the coalition. It means that we found such mechanisms; they were mechanisms of the procedure adjusting or compromising initial views and opinions. We want to control the individual proposals of amendments which were not debated in group of deputies or senators or within the coalition. We want to set such mechanisms of communication within C9 and within expert organs, so that we would reach an agreement and to have better chances in the course of promotion of our proposals. I do not have anything to add, I ask my colleagues to make some comments from their points of view.
Jiří Čunek, Chairman of the KDU-ČSL: I do not think it is necessary to add anything. I do not want to add anything to the issue, which has been summarized by the Prime Minister. I will wait for your questions.
Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: I can confirm constructive atmosphere during our negotiations. We debated concrete issues of our governance, in particular those mechanisms through which we wanted to strengthen integrity of our coalition and to ensure energy and greater power in promotion of the programme of the government. We are also aware of the fact that there is little time left, as the presidency is ahead of us and therefore we want to use all opportunities and to implement maximum of issues which we identified at the beginning of our governance. In case we identified certain friction areas, I think we proposed such mechanisms through which it would be possible to remove them, so that we would be able to fulfil the individual tasks.
Alice Schinabeková, Czech TV: You did not want to inform us on your priorities and you added that you would tell them coalition partners first. Could you disclose them now?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: I do not the Programme Declaration of the Government with me to be able to read it for you, but those priorities about which we were talking were the same as priorities contained in the Programme Declaration of the Government, in fact. I am not sure if it is enough information for you.
Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: For us the same Programme Declaration of the Government is binding.
Journalist Randa, Právo: Good evening, could you say anything about those problematic points, about those friction areas? Which of them did you identify?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: And you will write articles about them tomorrow. It is out of question. Regarding those friction areas, we are self-sufficient; we do not need your comments.
Irena Svobodová, MfD: I will try to ask such a concrete question. Were you speaking about those fees and requirements of part of members of the KDU-ČSL? I do not think I must repeat them.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: I am not quite sure if I am competent enough to answer it, but certain space has been formed. Just on this example, on any else, I will demonstrate mechanisms, which we want to use in solving similar problems. First, we will not solve it as a issue of fees, but in a systemic way , as a health care reform, regardless whether the individual parts of the reform have already been implemented or not. Second, we will establish a specialized working commission which will deal with that problem and which will solve it in as a complex problem and it will consult it with the Ministry of Health. Third, in case of fees, we shortened the testing period, which had been set as a period necessary for collecting clear and exact data and considering relevant changes from six months to three months. It means that April, as the fourth month, will be the month in which we will make some crucial decision that would lead to changes of the system. This is all, and I think it is possible to demonstrate on this example the will of the coalition partners to solve the problem jointly, not only as individual proposals of the individual deputies.
Jiří Čunek, Chairman of the KDU-ČSL: I am content.
Jan Martínek, Lidové noviny: As far as I am informed, also Mrs. Šojdrová wanted to participate in this meeting, and she was not invited. Why?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: Because the "coalition nine" has its firm composition, it is the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman, and the Chairman of the group of deputies. I have been talking to Mrs. Šojdrová today and informed her on the expected result of the meeting and on the fact that work of that working group, which she would participate in, would start tomorrow. She accepted that explanation and therefore she did not strive after attending the meeting, as we really did not solve concrete problems, we just set mechanisms of the process of solution and it was exclusively political issue.

Tomáš Drahoňovský, TV Prima: Mrs. Šojdrová told us before the meeting that the negotiation had been held, but that she would submit her proposal for all that regardless results of the coalition meeting. I would like to know, if you know that, whether she really submitted it or not. And in case she submits it, does it mean some breach of the concept that you agreed on, or breach of the coalition agreement?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: If she submitted that proposal, which is quite possible and probable, it cannot mean breach of something we agreed on later on. I am of the opinion, and I suppose that also Mrs. Šojdrová will agree with it, that the solution concerning fees which might be made in a very short time and which could be influenced by the verdict of the Constitutional Court, Mrs. Šojdrová will accept and that she will withdraw her proposal, so as not to complicate the process of approval. Nevertheless, she is autonomous deputy and I cannot urge her from this place. I think it is probable that the agreement will be reached.
Jiří Čunek, Chairman of the KDU-ČSL: I think that results of the meeting are very good, I mean to shorten the period from six months to three months and to assess the entire package; it will be significant impulse for her.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: If it is all, I wish you nice evening, and now you remembered something ...
Journalist: Mr. Prime Minister, I know that it was not on the agenda, but it just occurred to me by the way, whether you initiated discussion on the comeback of Mr. Jiří Čunek to the cabinet.
Jiří Čunek, Chairman of the KDU-ČSL: Have such a thing occurred to you?
Journalist: Yes, in connection with today's report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USA.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: Regarding that report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USA I can say just the only one thing. A country which enables torture of captives can hardly pontificate us on breach of human right in our country, because torture cannot be divided to the correct or incorrect one. If you wanted to hear this answer, you may be content. We were not to speak about the comeback of Jiří Čunek to the government, and we did not. I need this comeback I want it, but it must exist certain agreement between Jiří Čunek and Karel Schwarzenberg and I would leave time space for that. I think that Jiří Čunek will wait until Karel Schwarzenberg returns.
Jan Martínek, Lidové noviny: Did you also discuss the issue of more financial means for the area of education?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: We did not discuss any concrete factual topics. Area of education was not a problematic point, as I do not thin that there is somebody here who refuses salary increase for teachers. I do not know exactly what did you mean.
Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: It begins to look like a game; you are raising topics and are trying to test us whether we tell the truth or not. Do not ask. We were debating number of concrete topics there, but you can also notice that one of proofs of strengthening of a team spirit of our cooperation is the fact that we do not open them here that we found mechanisms inside the coalition to reach a consensus, and not to create unnecessary problems. We want to eliminate problems, remove them and minimize them, not to create them. That is quite rational attitude.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister and Chairman of the ODS: So, I will conclude this press conference with one sentence – if somebody expected that the coalition would be weakened after this meeting, then I must disappoint him. I wish you nice evening. Good-bye.
Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: Good-bye.
Jiří Čunek, Chairman of the KDU-ČSL: Good-bye.

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